On June 5, 1998, Disney’s “Mulan” premiered to U.S. audiences. As a promotional tool for the movie, the fast-food chain, McDonald’s, released a limited edition Szechuan chicken mcnugget sauce. As the sauce was only sold for the duration of the promotion of the movie, it was available in 1998, and has been unavailable for almost two decades.
That is, until Oct. 7 of this year.
On April 1, the raunchy Adult Swim cartoon, “Ricky and Morty,” aired the first episode of its third season. And ever since that day, google searches for “McDonald’s Szechuan” and “Szechuan Sauce,” have spiked over 100 percent across America.
Why is that exactly? Well, in the season three premiere of “Rick and Morty,” “The Rickshank Rickdeption,” the protagonist, Rick Sanchez, goes on a crazed, long-winded monologue about his love for McDonald’s Szechuan chicken mcnugget sauce.
“I’ll go out and find some more of that Mulan Szechuan Teriyaki dipping sauce, Morty. Because this is what this is all about, Morty, that’s my one-armed-man. I’m not driven by avenging my dead family, Morty, that was fake, I’m driven by finding that mcnugget sauce; I want that Mulan mcnugget sauce Morty, that’s my series arc, Morty. If it takes nine seasons, I want my mcnugget dipping sauce, Szechuan sauce, Morty, that’s what’s gonna take us all the way to the end, Morty, season nine-more seasons, Morty, nine more seasons until I get that dipping Szechuan sauce, for 97 more years, Morty, I want that mcnugget sauce, Morty!”
In the U.S. alone, “Rick and Morty” has amassed a massive cult following. It is for this reason, perhaps, if no other, that fans began to heavily latch on to the subject of this character tangent: McDonald’s Szechuan chicken mcnugget sauce.
The first two google results for “Szechuan sauce” are the famed McDonald’s Szechuan sauce packets, their prices a cool $399.99 and $550.
What started out as a few lines of monologue added to poke fun at “Rick and Morty” co-creator and McDonald’s Szechuan sauce enthusiast, Justin Roiland, has exploded into a bizarre and horrifying cultural phenomena.
On Oct. 7, McDonald’s re-released their famed Szechuan sauce, and within less than an hour, locations across the country ran out of sauce; like Rick Sanchez foaming at the mouth in that season three monologue, “Rick and Morty” fans lost their minds.
Fights, protests and unrest broke out among the sauce-less fans. Perhaps the most bizarre incident resulting was a 4chan troll captured on video attempting to make fun of “Rick and Morty” fans.
The video features an Asian man in a red shirt and black durag, jumping on a McDonald’s restaurant countertop, screaming: “Where’s my Szechuan sauce? I’m Pickle-Rick! Wubalubadubdub, I’m Pickle-Rick!”
Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the video, however, is that the man jumps from the counter to the floor, pulling his shirt over his head as he rolls around and utters in barely coherent squeaks: “Ri-Rick! Ri-I’m Pickle-Ri-Rick Ri!” before darting out of the restaurant in a Naruto-styled run.
While the video was staged, it seems puzzling that someone would purposefully embarrass themselves at a haphazard attempt at satire.
In the wake of the McDonald’s Szechuan sauce riots, a few “Rick and Morty” fans have emerged to defend their common interest.
“You can still like the show, and you don’t have to be crazy,” said “Rick and Morty” fan Seth Cain, “I don’t want to be associated with those people.”
Cain’s friend who wishes to remain anonymous concurred, “Please just remember some of us are normal people. I’m not going to trade my car in for some sauce I can make at home.”
At the mention of a “Rick and Morty” fan trading in their car for McDonald’s Szechuan sauce packets, Cain cracked a smile.
“There’s gonna be those kinds of people anywhere. It’s definitely not limited to just ‘Rick and Morty’ fans,” said Cain.
Of course, it is true that no one television show has a monopoly on bizarre cult-like behavior. The question however, remains: why have “Rick and Morty” fans behaved so wildly at McDonald’s’ across the country? All I can offer is that there must be something in the sauce.